Definitive VAT system and fighting VAT fraud

Briefing 03-10-2017

Council Directive 2006/112/EC lays down the rules applicable to the common system of value added tax (VAT). Among other issues, the Council Directive establishes a temporary VAT system based on 'the origin principle', which requires that a VAT rate applicable to transactions is determined by the Member State of the seller's location. The temporary VAT system, established by the directive was supposed to be replaced by a definitive system. This however has not happened yet despite the latest VAT system having been set up approximately two decades ago. The temporary nature of the current VAT system brings several challenges, including the fact that it is more susceptible to VAT fraud. The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to update Council Directive 2006/112/EC to establish a definitive VAT system. Similarly, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee have recommended updating the legislation. Representatives of various stakeholder groups have also meanwhile voiced concerns regarding this piece of legislation. It is expected that the European Commission will submit a legislative proposal amending this directive in October 2017.